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You Never Thoroughly Intended It

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries
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I read quite a lot, both for pleasure and for my theological studies. Every so often, I read something that stops me dead in my tracks and affects me so deeply that I have to put the book down and consider what I've just read. Let me share such a quote from William Law:

If you will stop here and ask yourselves why you are not as pious as the primitive Christians were, your own heart will tell you, that it is neither through ignorance nor inability, but purely because you never thoroughly intended it.


If we consider Christianity to be a life-long journey, then surely the destination is a perfect and complete union with Christ. We begin the journey by not knowing Christ at all and it is complete when we have surrendered to Christ so fully that nothing of ourselves remains.

If we stop to take a look at the factors which prevent us from reaching that goal, it will appear that there are hundreds of little things on the journey which block our way. Work, friends, community and family responsibilities all present obstacles. We're so busy!

The truth which Law brings to our attention is that there are not many reasons, but rather one simple reason which underlies it all. If you don't have the kind of passion and intimacy in your relationship with Christ that you should then you don't fully intend to. You see, the quality of your relationship with Christ is all in your hands and no one else's. This is not like a marriage where both husband and wife must work to achieve closeness. Christ is and has always been completely accessible and available. He waits patiently for us to take each next step toward Him. You either take the step or you don't.

Every reason you can imagine for why you have not taken the next step on the journey can be distilled down to one simple fact - you don't want to. There is no secret or magic formula here. It's simple. We come closer to Christ by spending time with Him, reading His word, serving Him and praying. None of us are being physically prevented or restrained from doing these things and so the choice to do them or not to do them is our's alone.

Yet, we chase other pursuits instead. We watch TV, put in a little overtime at work or spend time on other activities which seem so important to us at that specific moment. It's a given that there are things we must do to survive such as eating or working in order to pay for our food and shelter. We need leisure, otherwise we will work ourselves to death. Jesus understands all this. Yet, there is so much time spent on activities which are nothing more than mindless distraction. All that time, we could be working on our relationship with Jesus.

I'm busy! I have work to do! I'm tired! Wrap the excuse any way you wish and surround it by any reason you like. When you unwrap it, what you will find inside every time is the same basic truth. You don't intend to have a better relationship with Jesus.

The relationship you have with Jesus is exactly the one you want to have. When you want to have a closer, deeper relationship with Him, you will. Nothing in this world can prevent it.
 

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Comments


Wow talk about the rubber meeting the road. How simple yet profoundly true. I thank God for leading me to this site and topic, as it confirms what He has had me speak on publicly and also meditate on personally. Again I hank Him for this profound truth and this site. May God's Light continue to permeate the darkness from this site. God bless. CLM
8/7/2007 6:45:46 PM - anonymous


It has really touched me. I know I intend to have good relationship but not work on the things that I should be working on to make things right. Thank u for this devotion, hemu
9/4/2007 1:31:29 AM - anonymous


Wow , very insightful, but what do you do if you've tried before and just didn't feel like God was really working in your life the way you thought? CV
9/9/2007 10:39:17 PM - anonymous


To answer your question, I would turn to author Chuck Colson. He wrote something in "Loving God" which turned my life around. He wrote that we often put obedience and passion in the wrong order. We think that we will starting praying, reading our Bible, attending church and serving God once we start feeling really passionate about Him. And so we pray, "God make me passionate for you." And if we feel nothing, many of us give up and move on.

Colson wrote that the opposite thing must happen. We must obediently pray, read our Bible, attend church and serve God and then, in time, we will become passionate for Him. In the beginning, we will do all of these things not because we passionately love God, but because we want to be in obedience to the Lord of this universe. In time, God rewards our obedience by opening us up to the enormous love He has to give.

Sounds opposite, doesn't it? How can we ever do those things when we don't feel "on fire" for God? It takes discipline and self-control. This is the place I came from, and it took me almost three years to begin to feel passionate about the Lord, but only after I really started living for Him.

For others, particularly those who become saved as adults, the two happen simultaneously, but for many, myself included, the obedience happens first, then the passion comes later (sometimes years later). I hope this helps!
9/10/2007 6:59:26 AM - Michael Lane


Wow!
Think I've known this for a long time.
Always there in the back of my head.

I think one of the things, maybe an excuse that I make, is that I've been going to church all my life, listening, discussing, why would God not reveal himself to me? Maybe knowing that the way my mind works would always take me to more questions and more doubts and I assume it's easier not to go there.

Think I need to try harder.

Thanks
10/15/2007 8:54:46 AM - anonymous


Amen and again I say amen.

PS: Anonymous: One of my former mentors told me that winners never try, they DO. They don't always succeed, they simply always DO.
The word try contains a built-in excuse (See How hard I Tried),
11/4/2007 1:54:03 AM - anonymous


Meeting up with the Father, Son & Holy Spirit before starting my day, throughout the day and before going to Bed has helped me tremendously since I heard his call to serve and am actively serving him in whatever capacity he calls me to. I walk and to only his will, questions will be asked/discernment only when necessary to make will clearer.
Spending time with God is not a method, it just takes heart and commitment. He is committed to us so why should us in return not be committed to him! Pause today to hear the Father Heart of God!

Celia

12/29/2007 6:25:51 PM - anonymous


Thank you for this message. I know I have been making excuses for so long. Your comment about Chuck Colson really got to me. I have known this in my heart for a long while. I know that when I start reading the word of God even when I don't feel like it or have walked off the path of the Lord that His Word always cleanses and does a healing in my heart, and after awhile I start hungering for more of Him and His Word.
1/28/2008 12:08:28 PM - anonymous


I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE-TO FAL IN LOVE WITH GOD PASIONATELY-TAKES EFFORT-TAKES TIMING-TAKES PUTTING GOD FIRST ABOVE ALL THINGS-WHEN YOU DO-TE HOLY ANGELS-THE HOLY SPIRIT AS PROMISED BY JESUS WILL STAY BY YOUR SIDE CONTINUALLY! I VOUCH FOR THAT! I LOVE EACH OF YOU & I PRAY FOR YOU CONTINUALLY TO HAVE A PERSONAl relationship with our creator god! chris
2/5/2008 2:28:19 PM - anonymous


WHAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN THIS DEVOTIONAL IS WHAT HAS COME TO ME IN REGARD TO MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. I STARTED WORKING A NEW JOB, AND I WORK THE NIGHT SHIFT AND I HAVE BEEN USING THIS AS AN EXCUSE WHY I HAVE NOT ATTENDED CHURCH LATELY, BUT AS THIS DEVOTIONAL STATES IT WAS MY INTENTIONS THAT KEPT ME AWAY FROM THE HOUSE OF GOD THANK YOU!
2/12/2008 2:23:36 AM - anonymous


come to jesus while he may be found!!
2/26/2008 2:43:39 AM - anonymous


wow..... I'm humbled by the raw truth in this.
Thank you so much for this devtoional.


Jim
So. Cal
3/12/2008 1:06:56 PM - anonymous


Yes, it's all about a decision. Just like our initial decision to come to the Lord, walking ever closer to Him is a matter of choice. God calls us and gives us every opportunity to stay close to Him, but He will not force His way into our daily lives.

We must remember that it is the enemy's intention to draw us away from our first love for God and if OUR intention does not remain firm, we will be caught up in his plan.

Despite our circumstances and the way we feel, we MUST keep reading the Word and praying. Watch out! The enemy doesn't like us to do this, it's dangerous! Meeting with other Christians in Bible study groups and worshipping God at church are also vital - it keeps us strong and accountable.

Today I make it my intention to have a closer, deeper relationship with God.
Sydney, Australia
3/20/2008 5:09:00 PM - anonymous


I am guilty of this.Im sure this is for me..I was asking Him one night, i said LORD i want to be close to you..Now im ashamed...huhu..its not with God but the problem is with me..i did not spend quality time for Him..Lord Im sorry..I want to start a new life from now on but i cant make it without your grace..love tyou LORD
4/22/2008 1:46:37 AM - anonymous


this is true!!!!!! when its all said and done..........we have not an excuse please Jesus help us all.... to love you with a feverent love as you do us
5/17/2008 6:23:35 PM - anonymous


This is an awesome Devotional!
The Lord is a consuming fire!
I want to know Him and love Him more!
(I pray that my Family will want to also.)
6/26/2008 9:54:09 PM - Ignited~Faith, Member of Delve into Jesus since 2/20/2008


i must say this hit me hard... but i have to face that it bares truth... i am responsible for my relationship with Christ, and its time to stop making excuses and step it up
3/7/2009 10:56:51 PM - Joia, Member of Delve into Jesus since 3/26/2008


"Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try" Yoda...don't laugh, he's one of the good guys! Anyway I thank you for this devo too. I struggle with this like many people do. I pray that everyone tries to have deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Steve,
Westminster Md.
4/20/2009 10:43:20 AM - anonymous


What else is there to say - It hit me for sure. There are things that are "WEIGHTS" that we don't think of as weights, but they are! Time to shed them off!



stilllearning
6/27/2012 9:23:34 AM - stilllearning, Member of Delve into Jesus since 6/24/2012



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